Feb. 23, 2005
Santa Clara will close the regular season at home this weekend against San Francisco and San Diego. Prior to Saturday's tip-off against the Toreros, Santa Clara will honor its lone senior on this year's squad, guard Quinn Thomas.
Calculating the Seedings
Although Gonzaga has secured its first West Coast Conference regular season title since the 1987-88 season, the race for second place could go down to the final day. Only 2.5 games separate second through sixth place. Santa Clara is currently in third place, is just one-half game behind LMU for second, and must win both games this week to gain at least a share of second place. LMU is also in a must-win situation on Saturday against Pepperdine to guarantee a share of second place. Pepperdine remains in the mix for second, but would need to win and hope for at least one loss by the Broncos.
Broncos Return to the Top 3 in WCC Standings
In 2003-04, Santa Clara's 4-10 WCC record marked the first time in 13 years that the Broncos did not finish the conference season at or above .500. Heading into the final week of this season, the Broncos are poised to return to the top three of league's standings.
Thomas Reaches Career Milestone
Last Thursday night, Quinn Thomas became only the 14th player in the Bronco program to reach 1,000 career points. Thomas netted 750 points her first three seasons on the mission campus, and had notched 239 this season before a knee injury sidelined her for three weeks. She returned to action at Saint Mary's on Jan. 12 and netted seven points, leaving her just four points shy of the milestone. The Kent, Wash., native hit four three-pointers during first-half action at Pepperdine on Jan. 17, with her second trey sending her over 1,000 points.
Santa Clara's offense is focused on long ball, as the Broncos are averaging 8.8 three-point field goals made per outing, a .375 clip over 25 contests. Quinn Thomas has netted 51 and Ashley Graham and Michelle Cozad are right behind at 46 and 43, respectively. The Broncos have historically led the WCC in this category, and surpassed their own WCC record of 200 treys in a single season at Saint Mary's on Jan. 12 and now have 220 on the year. Last season they also broke the league record for threes made during conference play. Regarding single-game team bests, in November, Santa Clara made 13 at Hawaii, tying a program record for a game and setting a Rainbow Wahine Classic new mark. In mid-December, Santa Clara topped that with 14 at Wisconsin, also an opponent record for the Badgers. The Broncos matched that effort on Dec. 30 with 14 threes against Portland State.
Santa Clara is averaging 8.8 three-point field goals per contest, third best in the NCAA, and is ranked 15th in accuracy (.375). Individually, sophomore guard Ashley Graham is ranked seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.455) and Quinn Thomas is ranked 13th in three-point field goals made per game.
Regarding RPI, which is based on winning percentage, schedule strength and opponent schedule strength, Santa Clara is rated 107th, second best in the league, and the WCC is listed 13th.
WCC Tournament Returns to Santa Clara
The WCC Championship is returning to the Leavey Center for a second straight season. After a two-year experiment with the same format that the men currently use, the WCC will use the traditional No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed format for the women's championship. All eight WCC schools will play on the first day of the tournament with 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 match-ups. The 14th annual women's tournament will begin with first-round action on March 3 and then take a day off on March 4. Play will resume with the semifinals on March 5 and the championship game on March 6.
All-session tickets are on sale now through each WCC institution's ticket office. Please note that any remaining single-session tickets will not go on sale until the Monday prior to the tournament. A Women's All-Session General Admission Pass is $40, and a single session pass is $12. Students and Youths will be admitted to a single session for only $5, and students of WCC institutions can watch a single game for $5.
Live Audio & Video on the Internet
A live audio broadcast for each Bronco game is available for a fourth season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Leavey Center contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located online. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer, allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. Anthony Passarelli returns as the voice of the Broncos for a fourth season.
Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the league in scoring offense (70.8), three-point field goals made per game (8.8), three-point field goal percentage (.375) and is one of only two league teams with a positive turnover margin (1.8). Individually, Quinn Thomas is fifth (14.4) in scoring, followed by Michelle Cozad in ninth (11.8) and Ashley Graham in 16th (10.0). Graham leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.455), is second in assist/turnover ratio (1.6) and third in three-point field goals made (2.0), while ranking sixth in field goal percentage (.485) and assists (3.1). Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made (2.7), is third in steals (2.1), and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.370). Additionally, she is the only guard in the top 15 in rebounding, listed 11th with a 5.0 average. Cozad is second and free throw percentage (.829), third in three-point field goal percentage (.426) and fifth in three-point field goals made (1.7). Kayla Huss is ranked fifth in assists (3.2) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.3).
Santa Clara began a new tradition this season with the Breakfast Club, a gathering held monthly and hosted by head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. The energized group meetings are held at The Hungry Hound restaurant near campus, with Bento-Jackson briefing the guests on current program events and over a continental breakfast. The final event of the season will be March 14. Cost is $6 per person and the event is held from 7 to 8 a.m.